For more than 40 years, Jordi Savall, one of the most
versatile musical personalities of his generation, has rescued musical gems from the
obscurity of neglect and oblivion and given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless
researcher of early music, he interprets and performs the repertory both as a violist and a
conductor. His activities as a concert performer, teacher, researcher, and creator of new
musical and cultural projects have made him a leading figure in the reappraisal of
historical music. Together with Montserrat Figueras, he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI
(1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987), and Le Concert des Nations (1989), with whom
he explores and creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early-music
enthusiasts around the world.
Through his essential contribution to Alain Corneau's film Tous les matins du
monde, which won a César Award for the best soundtrack; his busy concert schedule (140
concerts per year); his recordings (six albums per year); and his own record label, ALIA
VOX, founded with Ms. Figueras in 1998, Mr. Savall has proven not only that early music
does not have to be elitist, but that it can appeal to increasingly diverse and numerous
audiences of all ages.
After finishing his cello studies at the Barcelona Conservatory in 1964, he embarked on
teaching himself the viola da gamba and performing early music with the group Ars Musicae.
In 1968, he moved to Switzerland to further his music studies at the Schola Cantorum
Basiliensis, where he taught and gave master classes until 1993. He is currently a visiting
professor at The Juilliard School. He has recorded and released more than 200 albums that
cover the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical music repertories, with a special
focus on Hispanic and Mediterranean musical heritage. His albums have won many awards and
distinctions, including the MIDEM Classical Award, an International Classical Music Award,
and a Grammy Award.
Mr. Savall has described music as "one of the most universal means of expression and
communication," adding that "the measure of its importance and significance cannot be
gauged according to the criteria of evolution in musical language, but rather according to
its degree of expressive intensity, inner richness, and humanity." His concert programs
have made music an instrument of mediation to achieve understanding and peace between
different and sometimes warring peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest artists who appear
with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Afghan, Mexican, and
North American musicians. In 2008, Mr. Savall was appointed European Union Ambassador for
intercultural dialogue and, together with Ms. Figueras, was named as an Artist for Peace
under UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassadors program.
Mr. Savall's artistic career has been regarded as one of the driving forces behind the
revival of early music in Europe, the New World, and the Mediterranean; he is a leader in
the study, performance, conducting, and understanding of diverse musical traditions in a
far-reaching intercultural dialogue that transcends all borders. His prolific musical
career has brought him the highest national and international distinctions, including
honorary doctorates from the universities of Évora (Portugal), Barcelona, Louvain
(Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland); the order of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur; the
Praetorius Music Prize, awarded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony; the
Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia; and the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize,
considered the Nobel Prize of the music world.